Employers often ask us
what types of questions they should ask in their interviews to determine if the candidate
has the "soft skills" necessary for the job. Soft skills are intangible
and difficult to quantify absent personality tests and personal observation.
However, in this section we provide the interviewer with some soft skill definitions and
suggested questions to assist in assuring a good fit to the position.
Conflict Resolution: Good people
managers are those that have conflict resolution skills. Good conflict
resolution skills enable the Manager to work with a variety of people at many levels in
the organization to create winning solutions to problems while maintaining positive
relationships. This ability allows the Manager to bring conflicts out into the open
and resolve disagreements using facts to reach a decision. Manager candidates with this
ability view disagreements as healthy expressions of differing views which is the genesis
of better ideas and solutions. The decision is therefore made on the quality of the
idea, not the personalities or the position held. Here are some questions to help
determine the level of the candidate's skills.
Q: Sometimes it's necessary to ferret out
disagreements in a work team, and other times it seems better to avoid it or sacrifice
your own needs to keep the peace. Tell me about a situation where you had to make a
Q: Often enough, arguments develop within a
work group. Describe a situation where this happened in a work group, and tell me what you
did to help resolve the dispute.
Q: Sometimes disputes are not what they
appear to be. Often there are hidden or underlying causes. Describe a time where you
were able to uncover the true causes of a dispute, and tell me how you handled it.
Q: Power struggles are win-lose situations
and they are always difficult to deal with. Tell me about a time when you successfully
dealt with a power struggle and turned it into a win-win situation.
The ability to effectively employ and manage a diverse workforce. People with these skills
are able to foster appreciation for differences in people's values, lifestyle, gender,
faith, race, ethnicity, marital status or sexual orientation. They are able to look
beyond their personal prejudices and see the differences as opportunity for learning new
approaches to work. They confront racist, sexist or other behaviors that attack others, and
they are sensitive to the needs of a diverse workforce and corporate culture.
Q. Tell me about a situation or experience
dealing with people whose background, culture, lifestyle or values are different than your
Q. Sometimes we rely on stereotypes about
people whose background is different. This can either strain a working relationship
or it can become a productive one. Tell me about a situation like this you have
Q. Sometimes people make sexist, racist or
homophobic comments that attack or undermine a member of the work team. Recall for me a
time when you witnessed this, and tell me how you responded.